Are You a Social Networking Snob?

snobs_smallThere are literally millions of people connected through online social networking. Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and FaceBook have become breeding grounds for people to do and say whatever they want. Connecting to others can be a very profitable experience for some but what do they offer beyond the “value” they claim to provide with their business or product?  

Here are some things to consider to determine if you, or someone you’re connected with, is a social network snob:

1)  You, or someone you may be connected with, are one of those online networkers who believes everyone should be following you while you are stingy about who you choose to follow.  Celebrities and wannabes are mostly guilty of this behavior.  On Twitter, they even have contests among themselves to see who can generate the most followers.  Why would you want to follow someone who has no interest in trying to personally connect with you?  And the only time they do is when you retweet something they tweeted first.  

But not all celebrities are that way.  I’ve had real conversations with comedian Sinbad, super model Kathy Ireland and journalist Rebecca Jarvis.  As a matter of fact, Kathy came to my defense during a debate I was having with one of her followers and purchased several copies of my book.  (long story).

2)  You’ll connect with any and everybody because the more eyes that see you, the more chances you have to make that sale.  On the surface, that may not sound like a ‘snob’ but think about it.  If the only reason they are connecting with you is to pitch their services that should raise a red flag. Can I get to know, like and trust you first?  Some people have thousands of followers and constantly promote their business or product with little regard for what their followers may be offering.

3)  You, or someone you now, is constantly promoting a business or product. This coincides with #2 and, once again, a behavior found primarily on Twitter.  These are the folks who send out several tweets daily promoting one thing or another.  The language may change slightly but they are still doing shameful self-promotion.  And if you retweet them, they don’t give you the courtesy of saying “thank you.”

4)  You, or someone you know, doesn’t engage with others you in conversation: Unlike a telephone conversation, social media can keep us from having to respond to others.  If I say hi to you and ask how your day is going, you can ignore it and later claim you never saw the post.  If you are connecting with someone, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to find out more about them.  You may discover it’s not a connection you really want. 

5)  You never “like” anything I post.  I had a conversation with a fellow businesswoman awhile ago about this.  she told me if she ‘liked’ a post it meant she endorsed it so she was very cautious to attach her name to different things.  To some degree, I do agree with that thought but if you never find anything I say to ‘like’ or retweet, then why are we connected?

Perhaps, there’s a little social networking snobbiness in all of us.  I’ve actually unfriended a number of folks after reading their facebook posts and tweets.  Maybe it’s really necessary for us to keep certain people at a distance.

What do you think? 

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What Stuart Scott Taught Us About Self Promotion

scottweb18s-1-webAs a Media Trainer, I work with clients on the art and techniques of self promotion and how to use it to gain more exposure.   

In the wake of the passing of ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott, I want to share what he has taught us all about how to self promote without being obnoxious or overbearing.  

Learn how to create a buzz:  No one’s going to know anything about you do unless you tell them. You have to “create a buzz.” What does that mean? It means you have to market yourself in such a way that creates attention to you and visibility. Stuart Scott did that but he wasn’t IN YOUR FACE about it.  He was a game changer when it came to the way sports on ESPN had been presented.  He had people, like me, staying up late at night to hear his colorful commentary on athletes we wouldn’t otherwise know or games we probably never watched.  He created catch words like “BOOYAH!” and phrases such as “don’t hate the player hate the game” and “as cool as the other side of the pillow.”  

Be passionate about what you do:   You can always tell when someone is excited about what they do. It always comes across in their voice and facial expressions. Your personality can make or break you.  Stuart Scott was not shy.  He was enthusiastic about his work and it showed in his delivery and his interactions with others. He became a household name among athletes. 

Persevere:  Every day will not be a good day.  You may have periods when no one wants to buy what you’re selling or hear your pitch but that doesn’t mean you throw in the towel.  You keep planting seeds even during the times of drought.  Even when Stuart discovered he had cancer, he continued to persevere.  He continued to inspire with his sheer determination and will and he certainly didn’t fall into self-pity mode. Whether he knew it or not, he became one of the greatest promoters for people in similar circumstances.   

Find your voice and prosper:  Stuart didn’t immediately start out as an ESPN sports anchor.  He had to search and find his voice. Once he found it , he became committed to pursuing his passion.  The same goes for you.  You may not be where you’re supposed to be in life right now but once you discover your true passion, give it all you’ve got.  Remember, you, and only you, will be your biggest promoter.

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Public Speaking and Publicity

publicspeakingLet me make this plain and simple:  If you can’t command an audience verbally, you’re not going to have much success with whatever it is you are trying to promote.  You can hide behind your computer and tweet all you want about your upcoming specials.  Twitter may generate revenue for you but when it’s time to put a voice behind your tweets, will you be able to effectively rise to the occasion?  It doesn’t matter how awesome your new book is or how well written that press release may be, when the camera, microphone or a paid speaking gig comes along, you’d better be ready.

Having a media and public speaking presence is just as important—no, actually it’s MORE important than the promotion behind you. Now before you start thinking, “I can have someone speak on my behalf,”  let me squash that by saying no one can promote you better than you—no matter how much money you pay them.  Public Relations people are hired to make you shine but you have to put on the polish.

Having a favorable public speaking presence says you can “talk your walk.”  Since I’ve been doing professional public speaking for a quite a few decades now, it does come easy and naturally to me but I know that’s not the case for everyone.  According to an article in Psychology Today, public speaking is the number one fear.  So how do you overcome it so you can shine when the big publicity opportunity comes knocking?  Here are some of my public speaking tips:

Practice:  Before you do a radio or TV interview, see if you can get the questions in advance and then get someone to practice with you.  The more you practice answering questions, the more comfortable you will eventually feel.  If you’re going to be speaking before an audience, try gathering a group of your friends together to listen to you or volunteer to speak at an upcoming event prior to your actual presentation.

Talk above your audience’s head:  If you are speaking publicly for the first time before an audience, try looking just above the tops of their heads.  They won’t know the difference.  Just don’t keep looking up at the ceiling or staring at one section the entire time.

Find the Nodders:  If you feel comfortable looking at your audience, look for the smiling faces and the people who are nodding their heads in agreement with your speech.  Use good eye contact with them and they will make you feel much at ease with your delivery.

Speaking of delivery, concentrate on your tone of voice:  Nothing is more boring than a monotone voice that has no inflection.  There are actual vocal exercises you can do to not only work on your tone, but also your pronunciation.

Engage your audience:  If you can, find a way to have a talk back with the audience during your speech.  If you’re an author, find out how many have already read your book and get a couple of comments.  If you’re relatively unknown, find out who their favorite authors are and get them to tell you what they like about their writing.  When you engage your audience in the beginning, you can break the ice and command their attention right away.

Know when to stop talking:  If you see more than a couple of people closing their eyes for longer than five seconds, that is your cue to wrap it up.  It doesn’t matter how much more you’ve written down.  You may want to close with a funny story or joke so you can leave those still awake with something to smile about.  Thank your audience and sit down.


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Good Writing Makes Good Publicity

If you’re a publicity seeker you should have a website or, at the very least, a blog.  And if you have one of these, you should be writing something about what you do (or sell) AND about you.  Good writing makes good publicity.

Getting publicity starts with getting your message out.  Generating GOOD publicity comes with a strong message and good writing.  That means having something relevant to say and making sure you use correct grammar.

Here are some tips I found useful from an article on the New York University website called Writing for the Web:

  • Write clear, simple and effective content. The content of your site should be easy to read for everyone, preferably in a conversational style.
  • Front-load your text. Put the most important content on your page in the first paragraph, so that readers scanning your pages will not miss your main idea.
  • Chunk your content. Cover only one topic per paragraph.
  • Be concise. Write short paragraphs and minimize unnecessary words.
  • Write in active voice instead of passive voice. (Ex: ‘Tim taught the class’, instead of ‘the class was taught by Tim’.)
  • Choose lists over paragraphs. When possible use lists rather than paragraphs to make your content easier to scan.

There’s nothing worse that trying to read content that doesn’t make sense, have a point or hasn’t been through a spell check.  That’ll get you some publicity but it won’t be the kind you’re really seeking.

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Using Twitter as a Publicity Tool

publicityIn case you didn’t know, Twitter is one of the most powerful ways to get publicity in a relatively short period of time. When you think about it, our tweets and re-tweets have the potential to be seen by tens of thousands of followers on any given day of the week.  Publicity via Twitter has proven to boost readership of blogs, articles as well as generate sales. Speaking from personal experience, Twitter helped catapult my most recent book, How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder to #1 on Amazon a couple of years ago.

But that’s not really what this article is about. It’s about when and why you should re-tweet someone else’s post.

Here are some of my tips:

Only re-tweet a post that offers relevant information, an inspirational message you like or a valuable ‘how to’.

If someone is sending a blog or article, ALWAYS check the link to make sure it works. If the link is broken and you re-tweet without checking, it says you’re really not paying attention to your followers.

There are people on Twitter who are trying to make money. If you respect them and what they do, there’s no harm in re-tweeting their offers to help them with their publicity campaign.

If someone is sending a blog or article, try to read the post first before you re-tweet. It may not be something you want your name attached to.

If someone is doing nothing more than sending tweets and asking for re-tweets without engaging you in some form of other communication, I wouldn’t re-tweet. This person is self-serving and only interested in you helping to promote his or her agenda.

Always thank the person who re-tweeted your message and go the extra mile in re-tweeting something they’ve written. That’s why Tweetdeck is good to have.

If you have other tips, please share them here.

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